January 15, 2013 / 4:31 PM / 5 years ago

Gabon oil refinery strike stretches into second day

LIBREVILLE, Jan 15 (Reuters) - Output from Gabon’s sole oil refinery remained halted for a second day on Tuesday due to a strike over lay-offs and the closure of health facilities, a workers’ representative said.

Employees at the Sogara refinery in the economic capital Port-Gentil, which processes an average of 3,120 tonnes of crude oil daily, walked out at around noon (1300 GMT) on Monday.

“All production has stopped since the start of the strike,” Charles Digondi Guimbou, a representative of the striking workers told Reuters by telephone.

Sogara officials were not immediately reachable for comment.

The refinery is co-owned by the Gabonese government, France’s Total, Portofino Assets Corporation, Petro Gabon and Eni SpA subsidiary Agip.

Workers say they are protesting over the firing of five of the company’s 300 employees as well as the closure on Jan. 1 of a laboratory and the radiology department at the company’s hospital.

“We do not accept to be treated outside of our own facilities,” Digondi Guimbou said.

The tiny central African nation of around 1.5 million people produces roughly 240,000 barrels per day of crude oil from a sector dominated by Total and Royal Dutch Shell.

The oil revenues contribute around 60 percent of the state budget in Gabon, one of the few sub-Saharan African countries to have a dollar-denominated bond.

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